Reasons Why Traveling is so Rewarding

Reasons Why Traveling is so Rewarding

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At some point in your life, you feel the need to get away from the mundanity and stress. You feel the need to go on an adventure, to experience something new. Some people experience this more often than others. I am one of them. I have what is called wanderlust. The dictionary defines this as, "a strong, innate desire to rove or travel about." I think that most people in their life experience wanderlust at some point. Whether you experience the desire daily, monthly, or yearly, it is important to give in to your wanderlust as much as you can. There are many rewards to travel, and these often benefit your psyche in ways you may not even realize. So pack those bags, buy those tickets, fill up your gas tank, and go because going has a multitude of rewards.

1. Relieves Stress and Improves Your Mental Health

Believe it or not, your brain also loves adventure. When you travel somewhere new, whether it be thirty minutes down the road or across continents, your brain pathways start working in different ways. Your brain craves something out of the ordinary, something new in your routine. When you view different landscapes, see and meet different people, and even try new foods, pathways in your brain that may have not normally been fired are now working in overdrive, and this relieves stress and also improves mental health, especially for people with depression and anxiety, like myself.

2. Promotes Creativity

Many artists and writers take to traveling in order to improve their creativity, and this often leads to some of their best work. Whether you are a professional writer or an office worker, creativity helps you in so many ways. It allows you to think in different ways that you wouldn't normally. Creativity that comes with traveling can help you succeed in your career and everyday life.

3. Introduces you to Different People (and Cultures)

When you meet new people through travel, you are introduced to a whole new mindset, a whole different way of thinking. Social connections not only improve your mental health but also give you new perspectives on the world you live in. You may become more grateful for what you have or realize that everyone is equal in their struggles and happiness.

4. It's Fun!

Traveling is fun and that's what makes it so rewarding. You often laugh so much when you travel. You get to eat new and exciting foods, visit beautiful places and meet new friends. Traveling is one of the most fun things you can do (as long as it's done right, haha). And "right" is very subjective, so travel with whom and to where will make you happy.



Cover Image Credit: Grace Sterling

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Solo Travel As An Extrovert Is Not Easy

Traveling alone, I can choose to view it as a difficult separation from other people or a journey of learning more about myself.

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Life has a funny way of revealing itself and after my mom ditched me on our mother-daughter trip to Taiwan, I found myself on a plane headed to a country I had never visited where I didn't know a soul. (Disclaimer: I have relatives in Taiwan but had never met them prior to the trip.) I was excited for the adventure that awaited, fear not setting in of how difficult it would be not to just travel in a foreign country where I didn't speak or read any Mandarin beyond the very, very basics (Literally my vocabulary consisted of 10 simple words/phrases, one of which was the word for "apple" which isn't that helpful for getting around. I have since picked up a few more phrases.), but also be alone with just myself for company.

So much of who we are is influenced by the people around us. A large part of our identity comes the communities we choose to be part of and how we interact with others. But who are we when no one's looking? Who am I without the pressure of other people around me?

I am an extrovert. I get my energy from being around other people. It's not that I can't spend time by myself; I just prefer to be in the company of others even if we aren't always interacting the entire time. My best friend and I will even do independent activities together. (Once when we were hanging out, she was knitting and I was doing a puzzle. I swear we don't act like grandmas all the time.)

Although an extrovert, I'm still a pretty independent person who doesn't like to rely on others for help. But traveling alone in Taiwan, I don't have much of a choice. I'm forced to learn to navigate public transport myself and somehow survive with the basic English that Taiwanese locals know.

Learning to travel alone has been an emotional and difficult journey as this is the first time I've been on my own for this long. Although lonely at times, I've realized that loneliness is a mental state of mind. There is the Sanskrit saying, "Mana eva manushyanam karanam bandha moksayoh" which translates to "As the mind, so the person; bondage or liberation are in your own mind." My mind determines my emotional state of being and perspective! Traveling alone, I can choose to view it as a difficult separation from other people or a journey of learning more about myself.

Through solo travel, I am slowly learning to be comfortable with my own company which has been the biggest challenge. I was never an only child, I've always had a roommate in college, and even when I study, I go to public spaces like coffee shops so I can be surrounded by people. I don't know what to do when it's just me and my thoughts all the time. (Especially during meals. Should I appear busy on my phone like all the other single people around me?)


Because when you're traveling alone, you're in charge. You have control. You can change the itinerary from moment to moment without anyone's approval. No one's holding you accountable. Spontaneity? Let's go. You can build barriers but you can also tear them down. It's fun, it's exhilarating. But it's also scary. And unpredictable.


Would I go on another solo expedition in the future? Preferably not as traveling is way more enjoyable when you have someone to share the experience with. It's the people, not the place who make all the difference on a vacation. Yet I do believe solo travel is an experience that everyone should embark on at some point in their life (to grow and learn more about yourself).


This trip has taught me to find spontaneity in the fear and excitement and I've learned to embrace discomfort and unpredictability. To travel with not just my mind and logic but my heart. There are so many unique experiences, if you overthink too much, you'll lose your chance.

I've found that when I am alone, I become more vulnerable and open to meeting new people and having more offbeat experiences. I say yes with zero hesitation. Certainly, there are friends I made, hikes I climbed, streets I meandered, and epiphanies I had that wouldn't have transpired had I been with my mom or a group of people.


Traveling alone, I am now more confident in myself and am ready for the next wave that life throws me. Because I've learned that once you overcome the fear of being by yourself, getting lost (which you will), or accidentally eating meat as a vegan because you didn't understand the signage (I'm sorry!), the world in all its vast infinity can be pretty great. And there are some things that you can only learn on solo travel.

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